Aussie assembled 1947 Buick 8/40 Hearse

Discussion in 'Classic Buicks' started by OZGS455, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. OZGS455

    OZGS455 Oh what a wonderful day!

    Started work on the old girl yesterday after a 20 year break in the rebuild.
    Its a long story, and it starts a quarter of a century ago, actually longer.
    My part started 25 or so years ago.
    My Buick was born a 4 door sedan off the General Motors Holdens production line after WWII
    Post war Australia got essentially 1942 Buicks released unchanged in '46
    America got the bolt on front fender extensions flowing into the start of rear fender.
    that's how I see it anyway.
    At what stage in its life it went into Olding-Coachcraft of Glebe, in Sydney Australia to be sliced and have 4 foot spliced into the wheelbase and have the rest of the rear coachwork performed to transform her into an automotive work of art I have no idea, of her funeral coach incarnation I have no history.
    Research tells me that Olding-Coachcraft were the Premier Coachbuilders of the day and my style of rear bodywork was performed on other GM as well as Chrysler products from what I have seen.,
    Bur nothing as beautiful as my Buick hearse (yes I'm biased)
    when you see the pix you may be too.
    The Aussie coachbuilders sloped the rear C-pillars and rear door whereas most US bodies square off.

    I was made aware of the hearses exisence by a fellow motorbiker and good mate, Rodney, now he knew bodywork was my thing, and I was working at a local bodyworks, smash repair shop, doing mainly rust work and restoration.
    Rod had been telling me about "Jimmys Hearse" over a few beers and we decided to ride out there and have a look.
    She was in a real mess, a garden ornament, out in the open, with no floor to speak of and shrubbery growing up inside.
    I could see past the sad state she was in, and struck up a deal with Jimmy to purchase his Buick hearse.
    I hired a tow truck to haul the Buick to where I was living and it was reversed into a carport on a sloping hill,
    Then every evening after 8 hours of work I would come home and work late into the night on the hearse,
    first removing what was left of the body from the chassis and remaking all the brake lines as well as welding some cracks in the chassis and trying to free up the long seized straight 8 engine.
    By pouring eucalyptus oil down the plug holes and waiting the job of freeing the engine was started.

    While the body was on the ground I paint stripped it , etch primed and resprayed Regal Black on the roof, really the only straight panels.
    Now word is, hippies drove her up from down south to Nimbin in 1973 for the Aquarius Festival.
    I found out just a few months ago that it wasnt hippies but bikers that drove her up and another hippie by the name of Tony sent me this pic when he saw I had the hearse for sale.
    Fills in some of the blanks anyway.
    Evidently this pic is from the Nimbin Aquarius Festival website
    to be continued........ s-l1600 buick hearse.jpg
  2. Smokey15

    Smokey15 So old that I use AARP bolts.

    Cool story. Now I can't wait for the rest of the story...............and more pics!
  3. OZGS455

    OZGS455 Oh what a wonderful day! I said..its a long story over a third of my life...and its almost midnight here.
    But Ill try to give you a little more.
    now where was I?.....
    Thats right...Nimbin, the hippie capital of the story fades....seems there was a breakdown and she ended up sitting behind the BP petrol (gas) station for a long time...the stories very hazy
    I can only pick up the story from when I purchased the vehicle.
    Many nights cutting welding and grinding to refabricate the floor and rocker panels, the rear beaver, which I made from a Toyota Hi Ace rear door section.
    I started haunting swap meets in search of parts, joined the Buick club, bought another sedan with a blown diff for $1000 and ended up rebuilding the straight 8 out of it as it was more rebuildable than the original engine.
    My Buick Hearse became my great obsession, outlasting the woman Id lived with for 16 years, I drank a lot of booze back then and that had a lot to do with her leaving, see between work, the hearse, and my boozing and partying there wasnt much left for her.
    She left and my drinking and partying went into overdrive!
    Eviction followed shortly after as the party animal was wild, mixing booze, hallucinogenic muchrooms, pot, and a little speed and partying like a man well as working on the hearse.
    Eviction forced the hearse into the bush tarped up on a mates property and me and my dog living in a Mazda Bongo van.
    I was still working at the body shop as well and the boss there gave me a leads on a factory for rent that I could also live in so I took it.

    By now the hearse had a floor and parked in the factory it became my bed.
    The restoration continued, along with other work, and much partying.
    I woke one morning with a fractured skull and graffiti sprayed in orange paint all over my hearse, and vague reccollections of the perpertrators.....It did me in, I stopped the restoration and slipped further into a drunken and hallucinogenic mire.
    Battling on trying to keep myself afloat was folly...looking back...Trying to work 28 hours a day on speed and booze took its toll then a short time later I jumped from a stage after giving a blonde stripper a bubble bath onstage at a 1% bikers clubhouse.
    Silly me shouldve used the stairs but no I dropped in a boozy amphetamine haze onto a carpeted concrete floor smashing both my heels, and winding up in a wheelchair for 3 months, and having to switch from beer to bourbon to kill the pain.
    I still partied on fuelled by speed and booze and a bit of weed to take the edge off i attempted to soldier on.
    working on cars from my wheelchair.....and going slowly insane!

    ...Id fallen a year behind in rent....and trying to work my way out of the back pit I was in was like climbing a greasy pole....drinking to blackout in a wheelchair, hearing voices in my head, I battled on....The doctor took me out of the wheelchair and made me walk as my legs were wasting away...the real battle began..swimming..walking in water as I was lighter helped...I eventually got back on my feet physically..just....
    Mentally I was on the dark side of the moon.

    A mate let me sleep in the roof of his car wrecking yard and put my hearse in his shed,
    numerous other cars in various states of repair were at other mates properties,
    to say my life was un-managable was a gross understatement.
    I embarked on a 3 day bender starting on beer and speed then onto hallucinogenic mushrooms the next day.
    I saw a beautiful world.......I abandoned all hope one with the trees and the grass and laying half submerged in a shallow river I surrendered to life......burned out big time

    The next day I made a phone call that was to change my life.
    in seven days on the tenth of January I will be twenty years sober and clean.

    Whats this got to do with the hearse?
    Well for the last two decades shes sat covered with cotton sheets sewn together into a shroud of sorts.
    While Ive slowly rebuilt my life.
    Had to relearn stuff most folks take for granted...with help.
    One day at a time got the wreck rebuilt, the wreck that I had become....

    Six months ago I got an offer on a '71 Ford Falcon GT 351 that Id rebuild from a wreck,
    never thought Id sell that old Ford, but the offer was too good, so I looked around at what I could buy.
    Mopars, Challengers, Cudas, Roadrunners, most had the wrong engines though.
    Then by pure luck I chanced on a Triple Black '71 GS Stage 1
    'cos of my Buick history I knew exactly what I was looking at, I rang the owner and talked for 90 minutes and then jumped on a plane, flew to Sydney, done the deal and drove the Black Stage 1 home , 600 miles,
    The Skylark has got me motorvated on the hearse.
    Things can only get better!
    as the song goes
  4. OZGS455

    OZGS455 Oh what a wonderful day!

    whats that you say?....oh you want pix....lets see whats on my computer
    well, first the Ford I built that I sold to buy the Stage 1
    then the Buick Hearse uncovered
    and the Skylark GS Stage 1, first time out at the drags with my good made Deano riding shotgun.
    All part of the is every other car and bike Ive ressurected over the last 20 years, but you don't wanna see all them.

    there's more pix in my phone too, of the Buick Hearse.
    bedtime now..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    SAMSUNG A5 077.JPG 20180728_193714_resized.jpg 4th August Test N Tune 2018 -  (446)-(ZF-7881-32706-1-001).jpg
    Nailhead Ronnie and Smokey15 like this.
  5. OZGS455

    OZGS455 Oh what a wonderful day!

  6. pbr400

    pbr400 68GS400

    Glad you’re back on the clear side of life. You have a great story (sounds like a novel and an inspirational speech!) and you tell it well.
    Thanks, good luck, keep us posted!
    OZGS455 likes this.
  7. OZGS455

    OZGS455 Oh what a wonderful day!

    Not half as glad as I am Patrick.
    I got motivated yesterday and bolted together the rechromed front bumper bar that I bought Fifteen years ago!

    20190103_013441_resized(1).jpg 20190103_013300_resized(1).jpg
    Smokey15 likes this.
  8. Smokey15

    Smokey15 So old that I use AARP bolts.

    Just what I was thinking. I am glad you are still with us and have left the life you were living behind. I went through a period of 'party animal/womanizer'. Mine just involved alcohol and pot, but I know that, had I not changed my ways, I'd be checking the sod from the bottom side. You went further into the tunnel so it must have been more of a challenge to get free.
  9. flynbuick

    flynbuick Super Moderator Staff Member

    Twin turbo Buick 455 power?
  10. OZGS455

    OZGS455 Oh what a wonderful day!

    So far into the tunnel that I came out the other side, had two lives you could say.
    Could write a book about it all if I had the time..
  11. OZGS455

    OZGS455 Oh what a wonderful day!

    Dont give me ideas like that!
  12. flynbuick

    flynbuick Super Moderator Staff Member

    Of course, we are talking the TA Performance aluminum block displacing 550 cid, a roller cam, mated to the new Kenny Betts Wildcat heads flowing 500 CFM making 2000 hp at the rear wheels. Traction may not be such an issue given the rear weight bias of the design. Wheels up for the hearse on the street. Give us the vehicle weight and we can calculate what it would run at the strip.

    At 5000 pounds assumed weight. I calculate:

    7.91 seconds and 170.94 MPH in a quarter mile.
    pbr400 likes this.
  13. OZGS455

    OZGS455 Oh what a wonderful day!

    Long wheelbase would be fairly stable too but she no lightweight.
    Whos paying for all that?
    Hearse is for sale, plenty people ship US iron here so no reason you couldnt go the other way.
  14. flynbuick

    flynbuick Super Moderator Staff Member

    We were kind of hoping that you would be breaking some new ground with this machine. Paint the name "THE UNDERTAKER" on it. The car would instantly become a big draw at any drag race event here or there.
  15. OZGS455

    OZGS455 Oh what a wonderful day!

    Thats a brilliant idea !
    The Undertaker or The Nightrider *remember him when you look at the night sky!

    I dont have the funds to do that but maybe someone over there has.
    Stretch an A-body chassis and bolt the body on for the ride.
    Thatd be the easy way.
    pbr400 likes this.
  16. OZGS455

    OZGS455 Oh what a wonderful day!

    gonna need help to bolt this bar up, its not light like modern day plastic thats for sure!
  17. Premier 350

    Premier 350 Chris (aka Webby)

    That's one hell of a ride. Yours and the Buicks! Always good to see another Aussie here.

    Cheers, Chris
  18. OZGS455

    OZGS455 Oh what a wonderful day!

    Sure is and was, this Victory Vegas is my main ride but 20181229_180742.jpg

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